Estate Planning is the process of arranging – during an individual’s lifetime – for the distribution of the individual’s estate, following his or her death; as well as arranging for financial and medical decisions to be made in the event of the individual’s incapacity.
The process is completed through the design and execution of legal documentation, including, but not limited to:
- Will: A document whereby one is able to name the representative of his or her estate, define who will receive assets from his or her estate, establish trusts to provide creditor protection to the assets bequeathed to his or her loved ones, and establish other directions for the treatment of his or her assets following death; or
- Revocable Living Trust: A will substitute that allows assets to avoid probate, ensures privacy of its terms, and avoids state death tax liens
- Health Care Directive: A document whereby one is able to define who will have the legal authority to direct his or her healthcare decisions in the event of his or her inability to do so for his or herself.
- Power of Attorney: A document whereby one is able to appoint another individual, or a corporation, to be able to handle his or her financial affairs in his or her stead.
- Trust: A document that establishes a set of rules that define how an asset, or class of assets, will be treated. Trusts come in many varieties and can be used for a myriad of purposes, including limiting estate taxes; safeguarding privacy; protecting assets from potential creditors; and providing for beneficiaries with special needs.
Estate Planning documentation must be drafted and executed in strict accordance with complex laws and regulations established by the Internal Revenue Service, the New Jersey Division of Taxation, and other state and federal statutes and rules.
The laws, regulations, tools, and standards governing Estate Planning are constantly changing.
Our Estate Planning department boasts two attorneys with advanced degrees in taxation (LL.M. in Taxation), who both teach Estate Planning to other professionals. We pride ourselves on keeping abreast of the constantly changing guidelines governing the practice of Estate Planning.
We are able to guide you through the Estate Planning process by (i) exploring your goals; (ii) explaining the basic rules relating to affecting your goals; (iii) crafting a plan to coordinate your goals within the framework of the applicable laws and regulations; (iv) drafting and executing the documentation necessary to memorialize and effectuate your goals; and (v) working with you to update and amend your planning tools to reflect and respond to your evolving goals and the regulatory framework as it changes over time.
We particularly specialize in coordinating personal Estate Plans with the business succession plans of closely-held business owners, including the creation of succession plans through Buy-Sell Agreements, Corporate Restructuring, and the gifting of non-controlling interests in business.